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Steampunk is a 2019 American steampunk science-fantasy thriller film directed by Joe Cornish and Steven S. DeKnight based on a story written by Richard Shepard. The film is developed by Shatara Studios and New Line Cinema in association with DC Entertainment and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures on November 15, 2019.

It is the first installment in the Steampunk Universe and spawned two sequels: Steampunk 1968 in 2021 and Steampunk Manimatron in 2023.

Synopsis

After his girlfriend falls ill, Cole Blaquesmith seeks out the aid of crazed witch doctor Mortimer Absinthe in search for a cure. When Cole is betrayed and retaliates, he enters a coma and awakens 100 years in the future where Absinthe now rules with an iron fist as Cole learns that he is the only one who can end his reign.

Cast

  • Julian Dennison as Cole Blaquesmith; A former fisherman and prizefighter who fell in love with Fiona and learned to think for himself. After a pact with Dr. Absinthe goes sour, Cole ends up with his heart ripped out and in a coma for 100 years where he reawakens as a cyborg and learns Absinthe has established his own regime from a book Cole had obtained for him.
  • Hugo Weaving as Mortimer Absinthe; A crazed witch doctor who uses a book of knowledge from the future to establish a global regime during the Victorian Era where he rules with an iron fist. He also influenced the speech partners of England, called "Jive", and spread it across most of the Eurasian continent. Absinthe has used advanced cybernetics to keep himself alive for over 100 years and wears a suit of armor and carries a sword.
  • Stephen Blackehart as Faust; Absinthe's personal assassin shrouded in mystery who seems to be unkillable. He pretends to be honorable and years for a duel with Cole but has no problem killing innocents.
  • Emilia Clarke as Victoria; The would-be Queen of England who is instead raised as an assassin, yet aware of her royal heritage. A complex person, Victoria is torn between her nobility and her desire for freedom. She is sent by Absinthe to capture Cole but is instead hunted by Faust after staging a failed coup.
  • Colm Feore as Rutherford Nixon; Absinthe's former right-hand who has deep religious values and aspires to bring Absinthe down from power. He reactivates Cole's memory, with the boy ensuing the Resistance in Nixon's honor after he is killed by Faust.
  • Aidan Quinn as Sir Robert Peel; Based on Sir Robert Peel. An aristocrat by birth, he cares deeply about the injustices made upon the Underdwellers (the working class of Absinthia) and leads a resistance against Absinthe. Despite his courage and dedication, most Underdwellers distrust Peel, who, as an aristocrat, "isn't one of them". The final battle at London changes this perspective and he is accepted as their leader.
  • Anna Paquin as Fiona; A mill worker and Cole's love interest who taught him basic human skills. She is poisoned by Absinthe due to her political ties against him and serves as the motivator for Cole's actions throughout the film. A post-credits scene sees Fiona unexpectedly return to Cole after Absinthe's defeat, though it is left ambiguous if she is truly alive or a mere hallucination.
  • Tom Hollander as Hiram Sundown; A brilliant scientist and inventor who transformed Cole into a cyborg and kept him alive for 100 years in a cryogenic stimulator. He also was forced by Absinthe to develop the Engine used by Cole to retrieve a future book for Absinthe, as well as his hideous experiments that are placed in the dungeons.
  • Daniel Brühl as Milton Sundown; Grandson of Hiram and grandfather of Tini, though not as brilliant as either but still a genius. He always appreciates a good Martini.
  • Katherine Langford as Tini Sundown; The great-great-granddaughter of the legendary Hiram Sundown who designs and innovates tools and gadgets for the Resistance and develops a love interest in Laslo.
  • Louis Ashbourne Serkis as Laslo; A young black gypsy. Idealistic and brave, Laslo was part of the Resistance against Absinthe when his best friend, Rikk, was captured by Faust. After seeing Cole standing up against Absinthe, he became motivated to avenge Rikk's death by swearing revenge on Faust.
  • Remy Hii as Randy Warbuck; Partner of Sköm and a gravedigger. Despite this, Randy is an honest and caring person. He develops a friendship with Cole who has a stern way of returning it.
  • Barry Keoghan as Sköm; Partner of Randy and a thief, scoundrel, and gambler. Sköm is vain and only cares about himself, though proves resourceful to Cole as his gambling helps fund the Resistance.

Trivia

  • Despite being the closest adaptation to the source material than other films, Steampunk still varies slightly from the original comics with a few examples:
    • The film is set mainly in two distinct time periods: the first and second acts are set relative to 1853 and the third act jumps forward to around 1953, while a prologue before the credits is set in 1753. In the comics, the series was set mainly in the 19th century while a prologue was set in the mid-18th century and Cole's journey to the future was in 1954.
    • The film features Fiona as a young mill worker who is poisoned by Absinthe, but the comics depict her as a teacher of the lower class who falls ill after her school is burned down.
    • Characters from the comics not present in the film include; Batcat, D. Danforth, Napoleon Bonaparte, Iron Monk, Medik, Mambutu X and the Pestilent Brothel.
      • Of these, D. Danforth, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Mambutu X are introduced in a future installment.
  • Colm Feore, Aidan Quinn, and Anna Paquin previously worked together on Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007).
  • Tom Hollander and Daniel Brühl worked together again on The King's Man (2020).
  • Joe Cornish and Louis Ashbourne Serkis previously worked together on The Kid Who Would Be King (2019).
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